Implausible: Zero deaths in Shanghais COVID spike spurs skepticism

Enlarge / A employee in private protecting gear (PPE) collects a swab pattern from a resident for a COVID-19 take a look at in a neighborhood positioned beneath lockdown in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, April 9, 2022.

Shanghai and greater than a dozen different cities in China at the moment are beneath full or partial lockdown because the nation faces its most vital spike of COVID-19 instances but in the pandemic. But amid fast will increase in instances from the ultratransmissible omicron variant and China’s comparatively low vaccination price amongst its aged, some specialists are left scratching their heads over the dearth of reported deaths.

In Shanghai, a metropolis of round 26 million that capabilities because the nation’s monetary hub, residents’ persistence has run out as they enter a second week of full, draconian lockdown. Videos have circulated on-line of individuals screaming from their apartments and beating officers over meals shortages. There are studies of individuals being denied medical care and compelled into crowded quarantine services. At the start of lockdowns, officers have been broadly criticized for separating dad and mom from younger kids, together with breastfeeding infants.

China reported greater than 200,000 infections in Shanghai because the outbreak started final month. The overwhelming majority of these are mentioned to be delicate or asymptomatic. So far, Chinese officers have reported that just one case in the town has been thought of extreme, and no deaths from COVID-19 have been reported.

That’s regardless of China failing to achieve excessive ranges of vaccination amongst its aged inhabitants, who’re probably the most liable to extreme illness and dying from COVID-19. Only about half of individuals ages 80 and above in China have been totally vaccinated, and even fewer have acquired booster doses. Earlier this 12 months, Hong Kong, which had equally low vaccination charges amongst its older adults, noticed an equally extreme spike in omicron instances and recorded one of many highest day by day dying charges in the world.

In an interview Monday on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Scott Gottlieb, former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner and present Pfizer board member, expressed skepticism about China’s reported numbers. “It appears that they’ve lost control of this [outbreak] in Shanghai. There’s many more infections than what’s being reported,” he mentioned. “The data coming out of there is implausible. They claim only one severe case and no deathswe know that’s not true.”

Gottlieb pointed to earlier reporting from The Wall Street Journal and others of outbreaks in elder-care hospitals ensuing in scores of fatalities. One hospital employee who spoke with the WSJ final month recalled seeing half a dozen hearses parked on the hospital’s gate at evening. “I was scared to death. I said, ‘Look, look, those are for dead bodies,'” the employee advised the newspaper. Shanghai has 4 million residents over 65, making its inhabitants one of many oldest in China, the WSJ famous.

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